The weather here is quite sultry, and I am sorry to say one can send to the corner of the street and buy better peaches than all our expense in kitchen gardens produces. Lord and Lady Dacre are a few doors from me, having started from Tunbridge more suddenly than I did from Strawberry Hill, but on a more unpleasant motive. My lord was persuaded to come and try a new physician. His faith is greater than mine! but, poor man! can one wonder that he is willing to believe? My lady has stood her shock, and I do not doubt will get over it.
Adieu, my t’other dear old friend! I am sorry to say I see you almost as seldom as I do Madame du Deffand. However, it is comfortable to reflect that we have not changed to each other for some five-and-thirty years, and neither you nor I haggle about naming so ancient a term. I made a visit yesterday to the Abbess of Panthemont, General Oglethorpe’s niece,(1089) and no chicken. I inquired after her mother, Madame de Meziers, and I thought I might to a spiritual votary to immortality venture to say, that her mother must be very old; she interrupted me tartly, and said, no, her mother had been married extremely young. Do but think of its seeming important to a saint to sink a wrinkle of her own through an iron grate! Oh, we are ridiculous animals; and if animals have any fun in them, how we must divert them.
(1089) Sister of the Princess de Ligne.
T’other night, at the Duchess of Choiseul’s at supper, the intendant of Rouen asked me, if we have roads of communication all over England and Scotland’@—I suppose he thinks that in general we inhabit trackless forests and wild mountains, and that once a year a few legislators come to Paris to learn the arts of civil life, as to sow corn, plant vines, and make operas. If this letter should contrive to scramble through that desert Yorkshire, where your lordship has attempted to improve a dreary hill and uncultivated vale, you will find I remember your commands of writing from this capital of the world, whither I am come for the benefit of my country, and where I am intensely studying those laws and that beautiful frame of government, which can alone render a nation happy, great, and flourishing; where lettres de cachet soften manners, and a proper distribution of luxury and beggary ensures a common felicity. As we have a prodigious number of students in legislature of both sexes here at present, I will not anticipate their discoveries; but as your particular friend, will communicate a rare improvement on nature, which these great philosophers have made, and which would add considerable beauties to those parts which your lordship has already recovered from the waste, and taught to look a little like a Christian country. The secret is very simple, and yet demanded the effort of a mighty genius to strike it