(101) The seat of Earl Spencer.-E.
My dear lord, You ordered me to tell you how I liked Hardwicke. To say the truth, not exceedingly. The bank of oaks over the ponds is fine, and the vast lawn behind the house: I saw nothing else that is superior to the common run of parks. For the house, it did not please me at all; there is no grace, no ornament, no Gothic in it. I was glad to see the style of furniture of that age; and my imagination helped me to like the apartment of the Queen of Scots. Had it been the chateau of a Duchess of Brunswick, on which they had exhausted the revenues of some centuries, I don’t think I should have admired it at all. In short, Hardwicke disappointed me as much as Chatsworth surpassed my expectation. There is a richness and vivacity of prospect in the latter; in the former, nothing but triste grandeur.
Newstead delighted me. There is grace and Gothic indeed—good chambers and a comfortable house. The monks formerly were the only sensible people that had really good mansions.(102) I saw Althorpe too, and liked it very well: the pictures are fine. In the gallery I found myself quite at home; and surprised the housekeeper by my familiarity with the portraits.
I hope you have read Prince Ferdinand’s thanksgiving, where he has made out a victory by the excess of his praises. I supped at Mr. Conway’s t’other night with Miss West’(103) and we diverted ourselves with the encomiums on her Colonel Johnston. Lady Ailesbury told her, that to be sure next winter she would burn nothing but laurel-faggots. Don’t you like Prince Ferdinand’s being so tired with thanking, that at last he is forced to turn God over to be thanked by the officers?
In London there is a more cruel campaign than that waged by the Russians: the streets are a very picture of the murder of the innocents—one drives over nothing but poor dead dogs!(104) The dear, good-natured, honest, sensible creatures! Christ! how can anybody hurt them? Nobody could but those Cherokees the English, who desire no better than to be halloo’d to blood:—one day Admiral Byng, the next Lord George Sackville, and to-day the poor dogs!
I cannot help telling your lordship how I was diverted the night I returned hither. I was sitting with Mrs. Clive, her sister and brother, in the bench near the road at the end of her long walk. We heard a violent scolding; and looking out, saw a pretty woman standing by a high chaise, in which was a young fellow, and a coachman riding by. The damsel had lost her hat, her cap, her cloak, her temper, and her senses; and was more drunk and more angry than you can conceive. Whatever the young man had or had not done to her. she would not ride in the chaise with him, but stood cursing and swearing in the most outrageous style: