(1094) Walpole left Paris on the 5th of October. Early on the morning of the 6th, Madame du Deffand thus wrote to him:- -"N’exigez point de gaiet`e, contentez-vous de ne pas trouver de tristesse: je n’envoyai point chez vous hier matin; j’ignore `a quelle heure vous partites; tout ce que je sais c’est que vous n’`etes plus ici.” And again, on the 9th:—“Je ne respirerai `a mon aise qu’apr`es une lettre de Douvres. Ah! je me ha`is bien de tout le mal que je vous cause; trois journ`ees de route, autant de nuits d`etestables, une embarquement, un passage, le risque de mille accidens, voil`a le bien que je vous procure. Ah! c’est bien vous qui pouvez dire en pensant de moi, ‘Qu’allais-je faire dans cette gal`ere?’"-E.
I arrived at my own Louvre last Wednesday night, and am now at my Versailles. Your last letter reached me but two days before I left Paris, for I have been an age at Calais and upon the sea. I could execute no commission for you, and, in truth, you gave me no explicit one; but I have brought you a bit of china, and beg you will be content with a little present, instead of a bargain. Said china is, or will be soon, in the custom-house; but I shall have it, I fear, long before you come to London.
I am sorry those boys got at my tragedy. I beg you would keep it under lock and key; it is not at all food for the public; at least not till I am “food for worms, good Percy.” Nay, it is not an age to encourage any body, that has the least vanity, to step forth. There is a total extinction of all taste: our authors are vulgar, gross, illiberal: the theatre swarms with wretched translations, and ballad operas, and we have nothing new but improving abuse. I have blushed at Paris, when the papers came over crammed with ribaldry, or with Garrick’s insufferable nonsense about Shakspeare. As that man’s writings will be preserved by his name, who will believe that he was a tolerable actor? Cibber wrote as bad odes, but then Cibber wrote The Careless Husband and his own Life, which both deserve immortality. Garrick’s prologues and epilogues are as bad as his Pindarics and pantomimes.(1095)
I feel myself here like a swan, that, after living six weeks in a nasty pool upon a common, is got back into its own Thames. I do nothing but plume and clean myself, and enjoy the verdure and silent waves. Neatness and greenth are so essential in my opinion to the country, that in France, where I see nothing but chalk and dirty peasants, I seem in a terrestrial purgatory that is neither town nor country. The face of England is so beautiful, that I do not believe Tempe or Arcadia were half so rural; for both lying in hot climates, must have wanted the turf of our lawns. It is unfortunate to have so pastoral a taste, when I want a cane more than a crook. We are absurd creatures; at twenty, I loved nothing but London.