You will feel, my dear lord, for the loss I have had, and for the much greater affliction of poor Lady Malpas. My nephew(546) went to his regiment in Ireland before Christmas, and returned but last Monday. He had, I suppose, heated himself in that bacchanalian country, and was taken ill the very day he set out, yet he came on, but grew much worse the night of his arrival; it turned to an inflammation in his bowels, and he died last Friday. You may imagine the distress where there was so much domestic felicity, and where the deprivation is augmented by the very slender circumstances in which he could but leave his family; as his father—such an improvident father—is living! Lord Malpas himself was very amiable, and I had always loved him—but this is the cruel tax one pays for living, to see one’s friends taken away before one! It has been a week of mortality. The night I wrote to you last, and had sent away my letter, came an account of my Lord Townshend’s death. He had been ill treated by a surgeon in the country, then was carried improperly to the Bath, and then again to Rainham, tho Hawkins, and other surgeons and physicians represented his danger to him. But the woman he kept, probably to prevent his seeing his family, persisted in these extravagant journeys, and he died in exquisite torment the day after his arrival in Norfolk. He mentions none of his children in his will, but the present lord; to whom he gives 300 pounds a-year that he had bought, adjoining to his estate. But there is said, or supposed to be, 50,000 pounds in the funds in his mistress’s name, who was his housemaid. I do not aver this, for truth is not the staple commodity of that family. Charles is much disappointed and discontented—not so my lady, who has 2000 pounds a-year already, another 1000 pounds in jointure, and 1500 pounds her own estate in Hertfordshire.(547) We conclude, that the Duke of Argyle will abandon Mrs. Villiers(548) for this richer widow; who will only be inconsolable, as she is too cunning, I believe, to let any body console her. Lord Macclesfield(549) is dead too; a great windfall for Mr. Grenville, who gets a teller’s place for his son.
There is no public news: there was a longish day on Friday in our House, on a demand for money for the new bridge from the city. It was refused, and into the accompt of contempt, Dr. Hay(550) threw a good deal of abuse on the common council—a nest of hornets, that I do not see the prudence of attacking.
I leave to your brother to tell you the particulars of an impertinent paragraph in the papers on you and your embassy; but I must tell you how instantly, warmly, and zealously, he resented it. He went directly to the Duke of Somerset, to beg of him to complain of it to the Lords. His grace’s bashfulness made him choose rather to second the complaint, but he desired Lord Marchmont to make it, who liked the office, and the printers are to attend your House to-morrow.(551)