I am a great way out of the world, and yet enough in the way of news to send you a good deal. I have been here but two or three days, and it has rained expresses. The most important intelligence I can give you is that I was stopped from coming into the north for ten days by a fit of the gout in both feet, but as I have a tolerable quantity of resolution, I am now running about with the children and climbing hills—and I intend to have only just as much of this wholesome evil as shall carry me to a hundred. The next point of consequence is, that the Duke of Cumberland has had a stroke of the palsy— As his courage is at least equal to mine, he makes nothing of it; but being above an inch more in the girth than I am, he is not Yet arrived at skipping about the house. In truth, his case is melancholy: the humours that have fallen upon the wound in his leg have kept him lately from all exercise-. as he used much, and is so corpulent, this must have bad consequences. Can one but pity him? A hero, reduced by injustice to crowd all his fame into the supporting bodily ills, and to looking upon the approach of a lingering death with fortitude, is a real object of compassion. How he must envy, what I am sure I don’t, his cousin of Prussia risking his life every hour against Cossacks and Russians! Well! but this risker has scrambled another victory: he has beat that pert pretender Laudon(92)—yet it looks to me as if he was but new gilding his coffin; the undertaker Daun will, I fear, still have the burying of him!
I received here your letter of the 9th, and am glad Dr. Perelli so far justifies Sisson as to disculpate me. I trust I shall execute Sophia’s business better.
Stosch dined with me at Strawberry before I set out. He is a very rational creature. I return homewards to-morrow; my campaigns are never very long; I have great curiosity for seeing places, but I despatch it soon, and am always impatient to be back with my own Woden and Thor, my own Gothic Lares. While the lords and ladies are at skittles, I just found a moment to write you a line. Adieu!
Arlington Street, Sept. 1.
I had no opportunity of sending my letter to the secretary’s office, so brought it myself. You will see in the Gazette another little victory of a Captain Byron over a whole diminutive French squadron. Stosch has had a fever. He is now going to establish himself at Salisbury.
(92) This was the battle of Licgnitz, fought on the 15th of August, 1760, and in which the King of Prussia signally defeated the Austrians under Marshal Laudon, and thereby saved Silesia.-D.
I was disappointed at your not being at home as I returned from my expedition; and now I fear it must be another year before I see Greatworth, as I have two or three more engagements on my books for the residue of this season. I go next week to Lord Waldegrave, and afterwards to George Selwyn, and shall return by Bath, which I have never yet seen. Will not you and the general come to Strawberry in October?