The bitterness of the frost deters me, Madam, from all sights; I console myself with good company, and still more, with being absent from bad. Negative as this satisfaction is, it is incredibly great, to me in a town like this, and to be sure every day of not meeting one face one hates! I never know a positive pleasure equal to it.
Your ladyship and Lord Holland shall laugh at me as Much as you please for by dread of being thought charming; yet I shall not deny my panic, for surely nothing is so formidable as to have one’s limbs on crutches and one’s understanding in leading-strings. The Prince of Conti laughed at me t’other day on the same account. I was complaining to the old blind charming Madame du Deffand, that she preferred Mr. Crawford to me: “What,” said the Prince, “does not she love you?” “No, Sir,” I replied, “she likes me no better than if she had seen me.”
Mr. Hume carries this letter and Rousseau to England.(917) I wish the former may not repent having engaged with the latter, who contradicts and quarrels with all mankind, in order to obtain their admiration. I think both his means and his end below such a genius. If I had talents like his, I should despise any suffrage below my own standard, and should blush to owe any part of my fame to singularities and affectations. But great parts seem like high towers erected on high mountains, the more expose(] to every wind, and readier to tumble. Charles Townshend is blown round the compass; Rousseau insists that the north and South blow at the same time; and Voltaire demolishes the Bible to erect fatalism in its stead:—so compatible are the greatest abilities and greatest absurdities!
Madame d’Aiguillon gave me the enclosed letter for your ladyship. I wish I had any thing else to send you; but there are no new books, and the theatres are shut up for the Dauphin’s death; who, I believe, is the greatest loss they have had since Harry 1V.
(917) The Parliament of Paris having issued an arr`et against Rousseau, on account of his opinions, Mr. Hume was applied to by a friend in Paris to discover for him a retreat in England, whither he accompanied him. The plan finally concluded on was, that he should be comfortably boarded in the mansion of Mr. Davenport, at Wooton, in the county of Derby; and Mr. Hume, by his interest with the Government, obtained for him a pension of one hundred pounds a-year. On his arrival in London, he appeared in public in his Armenian dress, and excited much general notice.-E
It is in vain, I know, my dear Sir, to scold you, though I have Such a mind to it—nay, I must. Yes, You that will not lie a night at Strawberry in autumn for fear of the gout, to stay in the country till this time, and till you caught it! I know you will tell me, it did not come till you were two days in town. Do, and I shall have no more pity for you this if I was your wife, and had wanted to come to town two months ago.