In what part of the island you are just now, I don’t know; flying about some where or other, I suppose. Well, it is charming to be so young! Here I am, lying upon a couch, wrapped up in flannels, with the gout in both feet—oh yes, gout in all the terms. Six years ago I had it, and nobody would believe me—now they may have proof. My legs are as big as your cousin Guildford’s and they don’t use to be quite so large. I was seized yesterday se’nnight; have had little pain in the day, but most uncomfortable nights; however, I move about again a little with a stick. If either my father or mother had had it, I should not dislike it so much. I am bound enough to approve it if descended genealogically: but it is an absolute upstart in me, and what is more provoking, I had trusted to my great abstinence for keeping me from it: but thus it is, if 1 had had any gentlemanlike virtue, as patriotism or loyalty, I might have got something by them: I had nothing but that beggarly virtue temperance, and she had not interest enough to keep me from a fit of the gout. Another plague is, that every body that ever knew any body that had it, is so good as to come with advice, and direct me how to manage it; that is, how to contrive to have it for a great many years. I am very refractory; I say to the gout, as great personages do to the executioners, “Friend, do your work as quick as you can.” They tell me of wine to keep it out of my stomach; but I will starve temperance itself; I will be virtuous indeed—that is, I will stick to virtue, though I find it is not its own reward.
This confinement has kept me from Yorkshire; I hope, however, to be at Ragley by the 20th, from whence I shall still go to Lord Strafford’s and by this delay you may possibly be at Greatworth by my return, which will be about the beginning of September. Write me a line as soon as you receive this; direct it to Arlington Street, it will be sent after me. Adieu.
P. S. My tower erects its battlements bravely; my Anecdotes of Painting thrive exceedingly: thanks to the gout, that has pinned me to my chair: think of Ariel the sprite in a slit shoe!
Well, madam, if I had known whither I was coming, I would not have come alone! Mr. Conway and your ladyship should have come too. Do you know, this is the individual manor-house,(91) where married ladies may have a flitch of bacon upon the easiest terms in the world? I should have expected that the owners would be ruined in satisfying the conditions of the obligation, and that the park would be stocked with hogs instead of deer. On the contrary, it is thirty years since the flitch was claimed, and Mr. Offley was never so near losing one as when you