I send you the reply to the Counter-address;(671) it is the lowest of all Grub-street, and I hear is treated so. They have nothing better to say, than that I am in love with you, have been so these twenty years, and am no giant. I am a very constant old swain: they might have made the years above thirty; it is so long I have the same unalterable friendship for you, independent of being near relations and bred up together. For arguments, so far from any new ones, the man gives up or denies most of the former. I own I am rejoiced not only to see how little they can defend themselves, but to know the extent of their malice and revenge. They must be sorely hurt, to be reduced to such scurrility. Yet there is one paragraph, however, which I think is of George Grenville’s own inditing. It says, “I flattered, solicited, and then basely deserted him.” I no more expected to hear myself accused of flattery, than of being in love with you; but I shall not laugh at the former as I do at the latter. Nothing but his own consummate vanity could suppose I had ever stooped to flatter him! or that any man was connected with him, but who was low enough to be paid for it. Where has he one such attachment?
You have your share too. The miscarriage at Rochfort now directly laid at your door! repeated insinuations against your courage. But I trust you will mind them no more than I do, excepting the flattery, which I shall not forget, I promise them.
I came to town yesterday on some business, and found a case. When I opened it, what was there but my Lady Ailesbury’s most beautiful of all pictures!(672) Don’t imagine I can think it intended for me: or that, if it could be so, I would hear of such a thing. It is far above what can be parted with, or accepted. I am serious—there is no letting such a picture, when one has accomplished it, go from where one can see it every day. I should take the thought equally kind and friendly, but she must let me bring it back, if I am not to do any thing else with it, and it came by mistake. I am not so selfish as to deprive her of what she must have such pleasure in seeing. I shall have more satisfaction in seeing it at Park-place; where, in spite of the worst kind of malice, I shall persist in saying my heart is fixed. They may ruin me, but no calumny shall make me desert you. Indeed your case would be completely cruel, if it was more honourable for your relations and friends to abandon you than to stick to you. My option is made, and I scorn their abuse as much as I despise their power.
I think of coming to you on Thursday next for a day or two, unless your house is full, or you hear from me to the contrary. Adieu! Yours ever.
(671) A pamphlet written by Mr. Walpole, in answer to another, called ,An Address to the Public on the late Dismissal of a General Officer.”