Well! Quebec(79) is come to life again. Last night I went to see the Holdernesses, who by the way are in raptures with Park-in Sion-lane; as Cibber says of the Revolution, I met the Raising of the Siege; that is, I met my lady in a triumphal car, drawn by a Manks horse thirteen little fingers high, with Lady Emily:
et sibi Countess Ne placeat, ma’amselle curru portatur eodem-
Mr. Milbank was walking in ovation by himself after the car; and they were going to see the bonfire at the alehouse at the corner. The whole procession returned with me; and from the countess’s dressing-room we saw a battery fired before the house, the mob crying “God bless the good news!”—These are all the particulars I know of the siege: my lord would have showed me the journal, but we amused ourselves much better in going to eat peaches from the new Dutch stoves.
The rain is come indeed, and my grass is as green as grass; but all my hay has been cut and soaking this week, and I am too much in the fashion not to have given Up gardening for farming; as next I suppose We shall farming and turn graziers and hogdrivers.
I never heard of such a Semele as my Lady Stormont(80) brought to bed in flames. I hope Miss Bacchus Murray will not carry the resemblance through, and love drinking like a Pole. My Lady Lyttelton is at Mr. Garrick’s, and they were to have breakfasted here this morning; but somehow or other they have changed their mind. Good Night!
(79) Quebec was besieged by the French in the spring of this year, with an army of fifteen thousand men, under the command of the Chevalier de Levis, assisted by a naval force. They were, however, repulsed by General Murray, who was supported by Lord Colville and the fleet under his command; and on the night of the 16th of May raised the siege very precipitately, leaving their cannon, small arms, stores, etc. behind them.-E.
(80) See vol. ii. p. 513, letter 336.-E.
I am this minute returned from Chaffont, where I have been these two days. Mr. Conway, Lady Ailesbury, Lady Lyttelton, and Mrs. Shirley are there; and Lady Mary is going to add to the number again. The house and grounds are still in the same dislocated condition; in short, they finish nothing but children; even Mr. Bentley’s Gothic stable, which I call Houynhm castle, is not roughcast yet. We went to see More-park, but I was not much struck with it, after all the miracles I had heard Brown had performed there. He has undulated the horizon in so many artificial mole-hills, that it is full as unnatural as if it was drawn with a rule and compasses. Nothing is done to the house; there are not even chairs in the great apartment. My Lord Anson is more slatternly than the Churchills, and does not even finish children. I am going to write to Lord Beauchamp, that I shall be at Oxford on the 15th, where I depend upon meeting you. I design to see Blenheim, and Rousham, (is not that the name of Dormer’s?) and Althorp, and Drayton, before I return—but don’t be frightened, I don’t propose to drag you to all or any of these, if you don’t like it.