The result of all this dissertation, Madam—for I don’t know how to call it a letter—is, that I shall look for Paris in the midst of Paris, and shall think more of the French that have been than the French that are, except of a few of your friends and mine. Those I know, I admire and honour, and I am sure I will trust to your ladyship’s taste for the others; and if they had no other merit, I can but like those that will talk to me of you. They will find more sentiment in me on that chapter, than they can miss parts; and I flatter myself that the one will atone for the other.
(859) la Duchesse Douairi`ere d’Aiguillon, n`ee Chabot, mother of the Duc d’Aiguillon, who succeeded the Duc de Choiseul as minister for foreign affairs. She was a correspondent of Lady Hervey’s. In a letter to Walpole, of the 20th of November 1766, madame du Deffand says:—“Je soupai Iiier chez Madame d’Aiguillon: elle nous lut la traduction de la Lettre d’H`eloyse de Pope, et d’un chant du po`eme de Salomon, de Prior; elle `ecrit admirablement bien; j’en `etais r`eellement dans l’enthousiasme: dites-le `a Milady Hervey.” She died in 1772.-E.
Dear sir, You cannot think how agreeable your letter was to me, and how luckily it was timed. I thought you in Cheshire, and did not know how to direct; I now sit down to answer it instantly.
I have been extremely ill indeed with the gout all over; in head, stomach, both feet, both wrists, and both shoulders. I kept my bed a fortnight in the most sultry part of this summer; and for nine weeks could not say I was recovered. Though I am still weak, and very soon tired with the least walk, I am in other respects quite well. However, to promote my entire reestablishment, I shall set out for Paris next Monday. Thus your letter came luckily. To hear you talk of going thither, too, made it most agreeable. Why should you not advance your journey? Why defer it till the winter is coming on? It would make me quite happy to visit churches and convents with you: but they are not comfortable in cold weather. Do, I beseech you, follow me as soon as possible. The thought of your being there at the same time makes me much more pleased with my journey; you will not, I hope, like it the less; and, if our meeting there should tempt you to stay longer, it will make me still more happy.
If, in the mean time, I can be of any use to you, I shall be glad either in taking a lodging for you, Or any thing else. Let me know, and direct to me in Arlington-street, whence my servant Will convey it to me. Tell me above all things that you will set out sooner.
If I have any money left when I return, and can find a place for it, I shall be very glad to purchase the ebony cabinet you mention, and will make it a visit with you next summer if you please—but first let us go to Paris. I don’t give up my passion for ebony; but, since the destruction of the Jesuits, I hear one can pick up so many of their spoils that I am impatient for the opportunity.