I can give you but an unpleasant account of myself, I mean unpleasant for me; every body else I suppose it will make laugh. Come, laugh at once! I am laid up with the gout, am an absolute cripple, am carried up to bed by two men, and could walk to China as soon as cross the room. In short, here is my history: I have been out of order this fortnight, without knowing what was the matter with me; pains in my head, sicknesses at my stomach, dispiritedness, and a return of the nightly fever I had in the winter. I concluded a northern journey would take all this off--but, behold! on Monday morning I was seized as I thought with the cramp in my left foot; however, I walked about all day: towards evening it discovered itself by its true name, and that night I suffered a great deal. However, on Tuesday I was -,again able to go about the house; but since Tuesday I have not been able to stir, and am wrapped in flannels and swathed like Sir Paul Pliant on his wedding-night. I expect to hear that there is a bet at Arthur’s, which runs fastest, Jack Harris(87) or I. Nobody would believe me six years ago when I said I had the gout. They would do leanness and temperance honours to which they had not the least claim.
I don’t yet give up my expedition; as my foot is much swelled, I trust this alderman distemper is going: I shall set out the instant I am able; but I much question whether it will be soon enough for me to get to Ragley by the time the clock strikes Loo. I find I grow too old to make the circuit with the charming Duchess.(88)
I did not tell you about German skirmishes, for I knew nothing of them: when two vast armies only scratch one another’s faces it gives me no attention. My gazette never contains above one or two casualties of foreign politics:-overlaid, one king; dead of convulsions, an electorate; burnt to death, Dresden.
I wish you joy of all your purchases; why, you sound as rich as if you had had the gout these ten years. I beg their pardon; but just at present, I am very glad not to be near the vivacity of either Missy or Peter. I agree with you much about the Minor:(89) there are certainly parts and wit in it. Adieu!
(87) John Harris, of Hayne in Devonshire, married to Mr. Conway’s eldest sister.
(88) Anne Liddell, Duchess of Grafton.
(89) Foote’s comedy of The Minor came out at the Haymarket theatre, and, though performed by a young and unpractised company, brought full houses for many nights. In the character of Mrs. Cole and Mr. Smirk, the author represented those of the notorious Mother Douglas, and Mr. Langford, the auctioneer. In the epilogue, spoken by Shift, which the author himself performed, together with the other two characters, he took off, to a degree of exactness, the manner and person of the celebrated George Whitfield.-E.