(759) The demolition of Dunkirk was one of the articles of the late treaty of peace, on which discussions were still depending.-C.
Your health and spirits and youth delight me; yet I think you make but a bad use of them, when you destine them to a triste house in a country solitude. If you were condemned to retirement, It would be fortunate to have spirits to support it; but great vivacity is not a cause for making it one’s option.
Why waste your sweetness on the desert air! at least, why bestow so little of your cheerfulness on your friends? I do not wish you to parade your rubicundity and gray hairs through the mobs and assemblies of London; I should think you bestowed them as ill as on Greatworth; but you might find a few rational creatures here, who are heartily tired of what are called our pleasures, and who would be glad to have you in their chimney-corner. There you might have found me any time this fortnight; I have been dying of the worst and longest cold I ever had in my days, and have been blooded, and taken James’s powder to no purpose. I look almost like the skeleton that Frederick found in the oratory;(760) my only comfort was, that I should have owed my death to the long day in the House of Commons, and have perished with Our liberties; but I think I am getting the better of my martyrdom, and shall live to See you; nay, I shall not be gone to Paris. As I design that journey for the term of my figuring in the world, I would fain wind up my politics too, and quit all public ties together. As I am not old yet, and have an excellent though delicate constitution, I may promise myself some agreeable years, if I could detach myself from all connexions, but with a very few persons that I value. Oh, with what joy I could bid adieu to loving and hating; to crowds, public places, great dinners, visits; and above all, to the House of Commons; but pray mind when I retire, it shall only be to London and Strawberry Hill—in London one can live as one will, and at Strawberry I will live as I will. Apropos, my good old tenant Franklin is dead, and I am in possession of his cottage, which will be a delightfully additional plaything at Strawberry. I shall be violently tempted to stick in a few cypresses and lilacs there before I go to Paris. I don’t know a jot of news: I have been a perfect hermit this fortnight, and buried in Runic poetry and Danish wars. In short, I have been deep in a late history of Denmark, written by one Mallet, a Frenchman,(761) a sensible man, but I cannot say he has the art of making a very tiresome subject agreeable. There are six volumes, and I am stuck fast in the fourth.
Lord Byron’s trial I hear is to be in May. If you are curious about it, I can secure you a ticket for Lord Lincoln’s gallery. The Antiquarian Society have got Goody Carlisle(762) for their president, and I suppose she will sit upon a Saxon chalkstone till the return of King Arthur. Adieu!