The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 3 eBook

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to die when I have nobody left to laugh with me.  I have never yet seen or heard any thing serious, that was not ridiculous.  Jesuits, Methodists, philosophers, politicians, the hypocrite Rousseau, the scoffer Voltaire, the encyclopedists, the Humes, the Lytteltons, the Grenvilles, the atheist tyrant of Prussia, and the mountebank of history, Mr. Pitt, all are to me but impostors in their various ways.  Fame or interest is their object; and after all their parade, I think a ploughman who sows, reads his almanack, and believes the stars but so many farthing candles, created to prevent his falling into a ditch as he goes home at night, a wiser and more rational being, and I am sure an honester than any of them.  Oh!  I am sick of visions and systems, that shove one another aside, and come over again, like the figures in a moving picture.  Rabelais brightens up to me as I see more of the world; he treated it as it deserved, laughed at it all, and, as I judge from myself, ceased to hate it; for I find hatred an unjust preference.  Adieu!

Letter 282 To The Right Hon. Lady Hervey.  Paris, Nov. 28, 1765. (page 447)

What, another letter!  Yes, Madam; though I must whip and spur, I must try to make my thanks keep up with your favours:  for any other return, you have quite distanced me.  This is to acknowledge the receipt of the Duchess d’Aiguillon—­you may set what sum you please against the debt.  She is delightful, and has much the most of a woman of quality of any I have seen, and more cheerfulness too:  for, to show your ladyship that I am sincere, that my head is not turned, and that I retain some of my prejudices still, I avow that gaiety, whatever it was formerly, is no longer the growth of this country, and I will own too that Paris can produce women of quality that I should not call women of fashion; I will not use so ungentle a term as vulgar; but from their indelicacy, I could call it still worse.  Yet with these faults, and the latter is an enormous one in my English eyes, many of the women are exceedingly agreeable.  I cannot say so much for the men—­always excepting the Duc de Nivernois.  You would be entertained, for a quarter of an hour, with his Duchess—­she is the Duke of Newcastle properly placed, that is, chattering incessantly out of devotion, and making interest against the devil, that she may dispose of bishoprics in the next world.

Madame d’Egmont is expected to-day, which will run me again into arrears.  I don’t l(now how it is.  Yes, I do:  it is natural to impose on bounty, and I am like the rest of the world; I am going to abuse your goodness because I know nobody’s so great.  Besides being the best friend in the world, you are the best commissionnaire in the world, Madam — you understand from friendship to scissors.  The enclosed model was trusted to me, to have two pair made as well as possible—­but I really blush at my impertinence.  However, all the trouble I mean to give your ladyship is, to send your groom of the chambers to bespeak them; and a pair besides of the common size for a lady, as well made as possible, for the honour of England’s steel.

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The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford — Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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