I have been sea-sick to death: I have been poisoned by dirt and vermin; I have been stifled by beat, choked by dust, and starved for want of any thing I could touch: and yet, Madam, here, I am perfectly well, not in the least fatigued; and, thanks to the rivelled parchments, formerly faces, which I have seen by hundreds, I find myself almost as young as When I came hither first in the last century. In spite of my whims, and delicacy, and laziness, none of my grievances have been mortal: I have borne them as well as if I had set up for a philosopher, like the sages of this town. Indeed, I have found my dear old woman So well, and looking so much better than she did four years ago, that I am transported with pleasure, and thank your ladyship and Mr. Conway for driving me hither. Madame du Deffand came to me the instant I arrived, and sat by me whilst I stripped and dressed myself; for, as she said, since she cannot see there was no harm in my being stark.(218) She was charmed with your present; but was so Kind as to be so much more charmed with my arrival, that she did not think of it a moment. I sat with her till half an hour after two in the morning, and had a letter from her before my eyes were open again. In short, her soul is immortal, and forces her body to bear it company.
This is the very eve of Madame Clotilde’s(219) Wedding — but Monsieur Turgot, to the great grief of Lady Mary Coke, will suffer no cost, but one banquet, one ball, and a play at Versailles. Count Viry gives a banquet, a bal masqu`e, and a firework. I think I shall see little but the last, from which I will send your ladyship a rocket in my next letter. Lady Mary, I believe, has had a private audience of the ambassador’s leg,(220) but en tout bien, et honneur, and only to satisfy her ceremonious curiosity about any part of royal nudity. I am just going to her, as she is to Versailles; and I have not time to add a word more to the vows of your ladyship’s most faithful.
(218) Madame du Deffand had just completed her seventy-eighth year.-E.
(219) Madame Clotilde, sister of Louis xv1. Turgot was the new minister of finance, who, With his colleagues were endeavouring, by every practicable means, to reduce the enormous expenditure of the country.-E.
(220) Mr. Walpole alludes to the ceremony of the marriages of princesses by proxy.-E.
If I had known, Madam, of your being at Paris, before I heard it from Colonel Blaquiere, I should certainly have prevented your flattering invitation, and have offered you any services that could depend on my acquaintance here. It is plain I am old, and live with very old folks, when I did not hear of your arrival. However, Madam, I have not that fault at least of a veteran, the thinking nothing equal to what they admired in their youth. I do impartial justice to your merit, and fairly allow it not only equal to that of any actress I have seen, but believe the present age will not be in the wrong, if they hereafter prefer it to those they may live to see. Your allowing me to wait on you in London, Madam, will make me some amends for the loss I have had here; and I shall take an early opportunity of assuring you how much I am, Madam, your most obliged humble servant.