Don’t think I have forgot your commissions: I mentioned them to old Mariette this evening, who says he has got one of them, but never could meet with the other, and that it will be impossible for me to find either at Paris. You know, I suppose, that he would as soon part with an eye as with any thing in his own collection.
You may, if you please, suppose me extremely diverted here, Oh! exceedingly. In the first place, I have seen nothing; in the second, I have been confined this fortnight with a return of the gout in both feet; and in the third, I have not laughed since my Lady Hertford went away. I assure you, you may come hither very safely, and be in no danger from mirth. Laughing is as much out of fashion as pantins or bilboquets. Good folks, they have no time to laugh. There is God and the King to be pulled down first; and men and women, one and all, are devoutly employed in the demolition. They think me quite profane, for having any belief left. But this is not my only crime — I have told them, and am undone by it, that they have taken from us to admire the two dullest things we had, whisk and Richardson. It is very true, and they -want nothing but George Grenville to make their conversations, or rather dissertations, the most tiresome upon earth. For Lord Lyttelton, if he would come hither, and turn freethinker once more, he would be reckoned the most -,agreeable man in France—next to Mr. Hume, who is the only thing in the world that they believe implicitly; which they must do, for I defy them to understand any language that he speaks.
If I could divest myself of my wicked—and unphilosophic bent to laughing, I should do very well. They are very civil and obliging to me, and several of the women are very agreeable, and some of the men. The Duc de Nivernois has been beyond measure kind to me, and scarce missed a day without coming to see me during my confinement. The Guerchys are. as usual, all friendship. I had given entirely into supping, as I do not love rising early, and still less meat breakfasts. The misfortune is, that in several houses they dine, and at others sup.
You will think it odd that I should want to laugh, when Wilkes, Sterne, and Foote are here; but the first does not make me laugh, the second never could, and for the third, I choose to pay five shillings when I have a mind he should divert me. Besides, I certainly did not come in search of English: and yet the man I have liked the best in Paris is an Englishman, Lord Ossory, who is one of the most sensible young men I ever saw, with a great deal of Lord Tavistock in his manner.
The joys of Fontainbleau I miss by my illness—Patienza! If the gout deprived me of nothing better than a court.
The papers say the Duke of Dorset(902) is dead; what has he done for Lord George? You cannot be so unconscionable as not to answer me. I don’t ask who is to have his riband; nor how many bushels of fruit the Duke of Newcastle’s dessert for the Hereditary Prince contained, nor how often he kissed him for the sake of “the dear house of Brunswick”—No, keep your politics to yourselves; I want to know none of them:-when I do, and authentically, I will write to my Lady * * * * or Charles Townshend.