P.S. Have you seen the -,advertisement of a new noble author? A Treatise of Horsemanship, by Henry Earl of Pembroke!(131) As George Selwyn said of Mr. Greville, “so far from being a writer, I thought he was scarce a courteous reader.”
(129) Mr. Montagu was appointed usher of the black rod in Ireland.
(130) sister of the Earl of Halifax.
(131) Tenth Earl of Pembroke and seventh Earl of Montgomery. The work was entitled “Military Equitation; or a Method of breaking Horses, and teaching Soldiers to ride.” A fourth edition, in quarto, appeared in 1793.-E.
Just what I supposed, Sir, has happened; with your good breeding, I did not doubt but you would give yourself the trouble of telling me that you had received the Lucan, and as you did not, I concluded Dodsley had neglected it: he has in two instances. The moment they were published, I delivered a couple to him, for you, and one for a gentleman in Scotland. I received no account of either, and after examining Dodsley a fortnight ago, I learned three days since from him, that your copy, Sir, was delivered to Mrs. Ware, bookseller, in Fleet Street, who corresponds with Mr. Stringer, to be sent in the first parcel; but, says he, as they send only once a month, it probably was not sent away till very later),. I am vexed, Sir, that you have waited so long for this trifle: if you neither receive it, nor get information of it, I will immediately convey another to you. It would be very ungrateful in me to neglect what would give you a moment’s amusement, after your thinking so obligingly of the painted glass for me. I shall certainly be in Yorkshire this summer, and as I flatter myself that I shall be more lucky in meeting you, I will then take what you shall be so good as to bestow on me, without giving you the trouble of sending it.
If it were not printed in the London Chronicle, I would transcribe for you, Sir, a very weak letter of Voltaire to Lord Lyttelton,(132) and the latter’s answer: there is nothing else new, but a very indifferent play,(133) called The Jealous Wife, so well acted as to have succeeded greatly. Mr. Mason, I believe, is going to publish some elegies: I have seen the principal one, on Lady Coventry; it was then only an unfinished draft. The second and third volumes of Tristram Shandy, the dregs of nonsense, have universally met the contempt they deserve: genius may be exhausted;—I see that folly’s invention may be so too.
The foundations of my gallery at Strawberry are laying. May I not flatter myself, Sir, that you will see the whole even before it is quite complete?
P. S. Since I wrote my letter, I have read a new play of Voltaire’s, called Tancred, and I am glad to say that it repairs the idea of his decaying parts, which I had conceived from his Peter the Great, and the letter I mentioned. Tancred did not please at Paris, nor was I charmed with the two first acts; in the three last are great flashes of genius, single lines, and starts of passion of the first fire: the woman’s part is a little too Amazonian.